Let’s do it. Get rid of the grass, at least most of it and plant fire resistant, drought tolerant, disease and bug resistant, sexy, wild, natives. Native fire resistant plants are a real asset to your yard anywhere in California. Did you know that a watered apple tree or Indian Hawthorne burns better than an unwatered Ceanothus, and with just a little water Salvias (Sages) are harder to light than a watered fruit tree? Easy fixes for high risk fire areas. Here is a picture of a garden landscaped with fire retardant plants.
Plant natives grapes which are fire resistant make a beautiful arbor or barrier and you can eat the grapes.
Plant natives to attract bird, butterfly and hummingbirds. Milkweed is the only plant the monarch uses and it also attracts swallowtails. The natives are very low maintenance. They can be very showy and spectacular like our California Lilac, Ceanothus, left, or low and inconspicuous like Pacific Mist Arctostaphylos, right. Pacific Mist loves coastal sandy gardens where it grows one foot high and 6-8 feet across. Then there are the fragrant varieties for your smelly garden. California Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii) center.
And so many sages. This one is called Hot lips and hummingbirds love it.
Natives have everything you need for a carefree spectacular garden. Save money on water, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, save time, mowing, weeding, hedging, spraying, and the energy savings in hard labor are all good reasons to Go Native.
By planting natives and getting them established, which does take a little time in the beginning, you can just let them do what comes naturally and leave all the work to them. There are perennials which come back every year, annuals that reseed themselves, hardwoods, softwoods, bushes and trees for the layered effect. There are many varied reports on deer resistant natives. You will have to check with your local extension or neighbors on what works best in your area. I think the general consensus is they love roses and if they are hunger they will eat anything. So, this one is up to you.
Check out the gardens below.
This is a very good site. Full of fun facts and information. It is hosted by Randy White. The site below, Food not lawns, is just a little off subject. I just thought I would put it in here to give you something to think about. It is well worth a look see. You can’t help but learn something.
I have taken you on quite a tour and it is just the tip of the iceberg. If you just want to get started a good place to start learning about natives is at the California Native plant society the local chapter here is http://www.cnps-slo.org/ They have field trips to local areas and a great list of nurseries that carry native plants. One nursery on the list is Las Pilitas http://www.laspilitas.com/ It has an online Landscape and design plan. You just answer some questions about your planting area and it will tell you what plants to plant and where. Also, a must read on fire prevention.
And now that you are thinking about Going Native you can also start thinking about what you are going to do with all the extra time and money you will have after planting a native garden. The time you save you could spend oh, I don’t know, sleeping, surfing. Kowabunga Dude. Have Fun.